Defining True Beauty is Crucial In Our Ever-Changing Culture
By: Elizabeth Oates
The other night I sat down with my family to watch one of our favorite shows together: Shark Tank. Yet another hopeful entrepreneur walked confidently on to the stage. She stood, smiled, she pitched her product . . . an invention we all learned was based on a cultural lie.
Belinda Jasmine, inventor of The Skinny Mirror, created a mirror to make people appear 5-10 pounds thinner than they truly are. Jasmine says that before The Skinny Mirror she used a warped mirror, which made her look 5-10 pounds heavier than her actual size. Her self-esteem plummeted. “My mirror taught me it is the image we hold of ourselves that affects everything in our lives – our work, goals, relationships.”
While Jasmine is not alone in her quest for a healthier body image and self-acceptance, her solution is based on a lie. According to Nielsen’s Ratings (2015), the top two New Year’s Resolutions Americans vowed to keep included: stay fit and healthy (37%) and lose weight (32%). It is no surprise that in our youth-obsessed, health-conscience culture the top two resolutions revolve around appearance.
Through His Lens of Beauty
Ironically, for all the money, time, energy, and heartache we spend on our appearance, Jesus never addresses makeup, fashion, or exercise. What he does stress is love.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’” Matthew 22:37-40
When I think of the most beautiful women in my life, I don’t think of beauty pageant winners or swimsuit models (although they can certainly possess beautiful souls). I don’t think of the shallow, temporary, wasteful propaganda the entertainment industry has force-fed us.
Our perspective on elegance, artistry, and charm changes every few years as the world tells us what is “in” and what is “out.” Our outlook on style has become so skewed that we hardly recognize true beauty anymore. We see through a lens of broken, lost people desperately trying to convince ourselves of what is beautiful. So we look. And we look. And we look some more. We trust other flawed people to determine our standard of beauty because we stopped seeing the world through Jesus’ lens.
When I think of beautiful women in my life, my mind turns to the women who love others expecting nothing in return. I think of women who:
- teach Bible studies to women in prison.
- minister in Jesus’ name to nightclub dancers.
- mentor women who are learning job skills in hopes of gaining a better life.
- take in foster children and love them unconditionally.
- serve in their churches on Sunday morning after working all week, whether inside or outside the home.
Beauty is not what we look like, but who we look like. The more we look like Jesus, the more beautiful we are.
If you could see as Jesus sees, through His lens of beauty, how would that affect your self-image? Your self-esteem? Would you see yourself through His unchanging truths? Or would you continue to buy into the changing standards and lies of this world? I encourage you to take some time as you enter into this New Year to pursue Jesus’ standard of beauty . . . a standard that will never change, never fail, and never disappoint.
You can follow Elizabeth at www.elizabethoates.com.
You can purchase your own copy of If You Could See as Jesus Sees: Inspiration for a Life of Hope, Joy, and Purpose on Amazon!
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